Friday, February 02, 2007

USMNT Squad announced: WTF???

Interim Coach must be a title Bob Bradley likes having, because his squad selection for the February 7th match against Mexico isn’t something that will get him the job full time. He has made some of the dumbest choices in this 20 man squad, some dumber than Arena calling in O’Brien to the 2006 World Cup.

Here is the roster –

Goalkeepers: Joe Cannon, Tim Howard

Defense: Chris Albright, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Bobby Boswell, Bryan Namoff, Eddie Robinson, Jimmy Conrad

Midfield: Brian Carroll, Ricardo Clark, Bobby Convey, Clint Dempsey, Joshua Gros, Justin Mapp, Pablo Mastroeni

Forward: Taylor Twellman, Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Chris Rolfe

The main problem I have with this roster is that it has several players that should not have been selected, and it hasn’t some names that should have been selected. Here are the guys who should have been cut:

Eddie Johnson: Eddie sucks. I can’t say it any plainer or simpler than that. Yes he had 6 goals in his first couple of USMNT games. I was at the match against Panama at RFK where he came on and scored a hat trick in the second half. Panama was so sloppy; Bruce Arena could have scored that hat trick. Ever since MLS refused to sell him to Benfica, EJ has been a horrible player. He has failed to stay fit, failed to score goals for either the USMNT of his club team. Eddie Johnson needs to get his head screwed on correctly, refocus himself, prove himself with his club, then, maybe, get called back into a USMNT camp. The fact that he seems to always get called in and gets starts, just to be horrible with the ball and disappear for entire matches make me wonder if the coaches are even watching him in matches?

Yup, that’s it, EJ is the only one I think should have been cut. He should have been cut for one of the guys who I think should have been on the roster:

Kenny Cooper: Kenny scores. I can’t say it any plainer or simpler than that. He has proven for both his club and during that last USMNT match, that he can score goals. He is a huge beast that the Mexican defense would have fits trying to control. He is probably the best option at forward that the USA has, and he was left off of the roster. Why? Is he hurt? Did he need to leave camp for some emergency? If he was left off of the roster because he has one cap with the USMNT, that is bullshit. This is exactly the type of thing giving someone the title “interim” makes them do. You fail to think of how players will play, you try and think of who is the safest choice.

Oguchi Onyewu: Yeah, Gooch should have been called in. With one choice, Bob Bradley weakened our defense. Who is he going to start? If he was trying to go with experience, he failed to do it in the defense, because Boca and Conrad are the only ones who really have the type of experience that is needed for the match against Mexico. Bobby doesn’t have it, neither does Bornstein or Namoff of Robinson. So who will he start?

DeMarcus Beasley: Beasley is regaining his offensive awareness in Manchester City and would have been a perfect compliment to Deuce or Donovan on the wings. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see that during this match, so who knows?

Jonathan Spector: Spector would have been in Germany last summer had he not picked up an injury and as he is now starting full time for West ham and playing a damn good role for the Hamemrs on the left back spot, he should have been called in for this match. Yes, West Ham are currently in a relegation fit, but clubs know and expect their players to be called up for international matches, so they should be able to handle Spector getting a callin, expecially for a match that is this high profile.

Based on this roster, I have a feeling Bradley will start this line-up:


Boswell - Conrad

Albright ------------- Bocanegra

Clark ------ Mastroeni

Deuce -------------- Convey

Donovan ---- Johnson

If that is the line-up that Interim Coach Bob Bradley uses, Mexico will roll the USA like a joint and smoke them in the desert. Albright isn’t going to be able to content with the up and down movement that Bradley will want from him. Clark and Pablo will both play their defensive midfield roles, which is fine, but that will halt any type of midfield build up for the attack.

Speaking of attack, the USA most likely won’t have any, as Donovan has proven time and time again that he is best when he makes his runs from the midfield and can create chances and pass from the midfield. Honestly, I cannot understand why Donovan is even listed as a forward. He plays his best soccer in the Attacking midfield slot right behind two physically imposing strikers. Johnson…well, go read why I think he should have been cut. Bradley might as well just field a 10 man side, that way there would be more space on the field for the Mexicans.

Convey is returning from a knee injury and will be too busy trying to deal with the right flankers to really send in a cross to Landon, who isn’t the greatest in the air, so the crosses will be useless. Deuce might be able to spark some attack, but if he is the only one, he will get smothered by Mexico’s destroyers and we will watch a massacre.

That said, if I was the coach, and I am not, I would have started this line-up:


Boswell -------- Onyewu

Bocanegra ---------------- Spector


Deuce -------- Beasley


Twellman ----- Cooper

A line-up like this would give us two large bodies in the center defensive line, helping Timmy out with the forwards. Spector and Los would have been able to manage the wings in ways that I doubt Bornstein or Albright will be able to do. Conrad looked shaky in the Demark match, so I would drop him as well.

For the midfield, I would have Clark run the defensive midfield slot, simply because I think he has much better judgment when it comes to defensive tackles than Pablo “The Destroyer” does. In a match this volatile, better judgment is always needed.

For the wings, I would have Beasley and Deuce; two guys who can run at the defenders and can move the counter attack, just as they did against Ghana in Germany.

Donovan would be in the Attacking midfield slot, which he could drop back deeper into the midfield to start the attacks and see the field better. This would also give the chance to get the ball more, in the off chance that Landy still has a few massive runs left in him.

For the forwards, I would have Cooper and Twellman. Both are good with their feet and in the air and are tough to control. The Mexican defense would have a devil of a time trying to handle a beast like Cooper and a terror like Twellman, along with Donovan, Deuce and Beasley moving in for support and rebounds.

I had a bad feeling about this match when it was announced and that feeling just got worse with the squad that was selected. I do not see how this squad, with the line-up I sense Bradley will use, will be able to break down the Mexican defense or contain their attack.

I hope I am wrong, I really do. This is the match of the year, and if we lose, we will not hear the end of it. I hope Timmy is ready to be busy all night and expects to pick the ball out of his net several times.



Blogger The Iconic Midwesterner said...

I'm assuming that Gooch and Beasley were left in England because they were going to be used by their club teams. That would be the only thing that makes sense.

I agree that Eddie Johnson shouldn't be on this squad. I didn't think he had as bad of a game as you did last time out...but this is NOT the place to attempt to "wake" him up. I'd much rather see Cooper in the squad, as he could be a force against whoever the Mexicans could throw out there.

Given the forwards on the roster, I'd prefer to have Rolfe and Twellman start, and but Donovan in the midfield. Between Rolfe's work rate and Twellman's acumen in the air, as well as Landon and Bobby's noted ability to get crosses off, we would be dangerous.

But I think you are right and Landon will be up front.

5:10 PM  
Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

Hey Brian. Thanks for kicking off this topic. I wrote up my thoughts over on my site. In big picture terms we agree, but there are some quibbles in the details.

P.S. My seeming hostility to DC United players all comes from their late season issues.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

You're speaking my mind here. Like iconic midwesterner, I have to assume that Oneywu and Beasley were left alone to acclimate themselves with their new teams -- and I understand that.

But, for the life of me, I can't possibly understand why Bradley chose Eddie Johnson over Kenny Cooper and why Bradley seems determined to play Landycakes out of his natural position as an attacking mid-fielder. Ai ai ai ai ai.

4:53 PM  
Blogger bardiak said...

I just found your site and like it very much. However, I much disagree with some of your choices. First of all, Howard shouldn't be played at all. Maybe on the subs bench, but not starting. The tremendous honor that I felt knowing that an American was playing for Man U immediately drained away a couple months ago when I actually saw him play. I don't think he's good at all, as evidenced by a blunder he made in the first half. He went in to catch the ball and ended up dropping it right there in the middle of half a dozen Mexicans. If it wasn't for the quick-but-slower-than-usual-and-better-in-the-second-half US Defense, it would have easily cost the US a goal. It's mistakes like these that explain my dislike of Howard's choice. Why not his fellow Premiership goalkeeper Marcus Hannemann (Reading)? I think he's fantastic. He has great reflexes and is very quick on the ball. He would have been a great choice.
As far as Gooch (and Beasley too, but diff. team) is concerned, Newcastle asked the US Soccer Fed. to allow him to skip the game, due to a game against Liverpool a couple days later. Fulham, I'm sure , had the same circumstances. Otherwise, I agree with most of your opinions. Again, kudos on a great blog.

Bardia K.,

8:42 PM  

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